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Guerrero, Demeritte among top prospect performers Friday

Blue Jays No. 7, Braves No. 9 among many sluggers who went deep twice
(Paul Sancya/AP)
August 13, 2016

Baseballs were flying out of the park across the Minor Leagues on Friday, as five different Top 30 prospects hit a pair of home runs for their respective teams.Headlining the group was Blue Jays' No. 7 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whose two solo home runs helped power Rookie-level Bluefield in

Baseballs were flying out of the park across the Minor Leagues on Friday, as five different Top 30 prospects hit a pair of home runs for their respective teams.
Headlining the group was Blue Jays' No. 7 prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., whose two solo home runs helped power Rookie-level Bluefield in an 18-5 rout of Pulaski. He finished 3-for-4 at the plate, also scoring thrice and swiping a bag in the contest. The 17-year-old third baseman and son of nine-time All-Star Vladimir Guerrero has gone deep four times in his last seven contests and has seven homers in 45 games for Bluefield to begin his professional career.
Travis Demeritte (Braves' No. 9) went deep in his first two plate appearances on Friday and reached base three more times via walks, though the performance wasn't enough to keep Class A Advanced Carolina from falling to Myrtle Beach, 7-5. The home runs were his first as a member of the Braves after being acquired from the Rangers days before the August 1 Trade Deadline. Overall, the 21-year-old second baseman has homered 27 times in 102 games between the California and Carolina Leagues.

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Demerrite wasn't the only Braves prospect to homer twice Friday, as Austin Riley (No. 13) also accomplished the feat in Class A Rome's 3-2 win against Hickory. The 19-year-old third baseman hit solo shots in the first and third innings -- his 13th and 14th this season -- and then walked in each of his next two trips to the plate before finally making an out in the top of the 10th inning, when he lined out to third base. Though he scuffled during the first half, Riley is hitting .273/.339/.558 with 11 home runs and a vastly improved strikeout rate in 45 games since the All-Star break.
In Florida State League action, Reds No. 21 prospect Aristides Aquino's third two-homer game of the season helped Class A Advanced Daytona sink Tampa, 5-2. After he connected on a solo shot in his first at-bat to start the Tortugas' scoring, the 22-year-old outfielder provided his club with two key insurance runs with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, finishing the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs. In addition to his .279/.332/.521 slash line through 103 games, Aquino's 18 home runs (a new career high) rank second among active Florida State League hitters.
Last but certainly not least, catcher Raudy Read (Nationals' No. 30) had his first two-homer performance since June 2012 and collected a career-best five hits for Class A Advanced Potomac, which ultimately fell to Frederick, 8-7, in 13 innings. By finishing 5-for-7 at the plate, Read -- who also hit a double, scored two runs and plated three -- improved his batting average to .259 from .249, and he's now accrued seven homers as well as 25 doubles in 85 games for the P-Nats.
The rest of the best performances from top prospects Friday
No. 4 overall prospectLucas Giolito allowed one earned run on a solo home run by Erik González (Indians' No. 9), and it proved to be the difference as Triple-A Syracuse fell to Columbus, 1-0. The Nationals' No. 1 prospect was excellent overall, however, as he scattered three hits and struck out five in six innings while generating 10 ground-balls outs and throwing 63 of his 98 pitches for strikes.
No. 15 overall prospect Amed Rosario (Mets' No. 1) hit his first Double-A homer and third of the season to help Binghamton defeat Harrisburg, 7-3. The 20-year-old shortstop finished the game 2-for-5 at the plate, giving him a .366 average in 32 games since his promotion from the Class A Advanced Florida State League.

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No. 27 overall prospect Aaron Judge (Yankees' No. 4) continued his recent offensive surge as he went 1-for-3 and hit his 19th home run, a two-run shot in the eighth inning, for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a win vs. Rochester. He also walked twice and scored a season-high four runs in the contest. Since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 2, Judge, 24, is batting .353 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

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• Make it two straight games with a home run for No. 32 overall prospect Corey Ray. The Brewers' No. 3 prospect has gone deep three times in 38 games for Class A Advanced Brevard County since being selected third overall in the 2016 Draft, during which he's batted .226/.282/.348.
No. 83 overall prospect Mitch Keller added to his breakout 2016 campaign by tossing five scoreless innings for Class A West Virginia in a win over Delmarva. The Pirates' No. 5 prospect surrendered four hits, issued one walk and struck out seven in the outing, which saw him reduce his overall ERA to 2.72. Left-hander Taylor Hearn (Pirates' No. 25) entered in relief for Keller in the sixth inning and struck out seven of the 12 hitters he faced while tossing three dominant frames.
Marlins No. 5 prospectLuis Castillo paced Class A Advanced Jupiter in a shutout versus Palm Beach by hurling a career-best seven scoreless innings. The flame-throwing 23-year-old allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out three, and he also recorded 10 outs via ground balls. He's pitched to a stellar 1.35 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 40 innings (seven starts) since the start of July.
• It was a career night at the plate for Mets No. 6 prospect Desmond Lindsay, who used a three-run home run, a bases-clearing double and an RBI single to record a career-best seven RBIs and help power Class A Short Season Brooklyn past West Virginia, 14-7. It was the 2015 second-rounder's third straight multi-hit performance and improved his average to .364 through 14 games for Brooklyn. Left-hander Thomas Szapucki (Mets' No. 8 allowed a career-high four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings -- the same number of earned runs he allowed over his first eight starts in 2016 -- but also fanned 10 of the 22 hitters he faced, giving him 86 strikeouts in 52 innings for the season.
Twins No. 7 prospect Fernando Romero received a no-decision for Class A Advanced Fort Myers despite striking out 11 hitters in seven scoreless innings. After missing much of 2014 and then all of '15 due to Tommy John surgery, the 21-year-old right-hander has come back to post a 2.22 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP with 73 strikeouts in 77 innings (14 starts) this season between the Midwest and Florida State Leagues.
Blue Jays No. 10 prospect Conner Greene did not allow a hit for Double-A New Hampshire but departed the game after throwing 90 pitches (52 strikes) in six innings. The 21-year-old right-hander struck out six and walked a pair in the outing. The Fisher Cats carried a combined no-hit bid into the ninth inning before right-hander Brady Dragmire (Blue Jays' No. 26) -- in his third inning of relief -- allowed a leadoff single to Trenton's Dustin Fowler (Yankees' No. 13).

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"[The key was] just controlling my fastball," Greene told "Having command on the outer half of the zone was the key for me.
"I was gonna get [a chance to pitch the seventh], but because it was a long half-inning, I respect the coaches' decision," he said. "I think it was a good one, I was getting a little stiff there. Whatever helps the team win, and [reliever] Brady [Dragmire] did a good job there."
Mariners No. 10 prospect Andrew Moore improved to 8-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.89 for Double-A Jackson as he fired eight innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits in a win against Biloxi. He struck out seven in the outing, with 64 of his 100 pitches going for strikes. In his first full pro campaign, the 2015 Competitive Balance Round B pick has gone 11-2 in 24 starts between Class A Advanced Bakersfield and Jackson, with a 2.41 ERA and a 112-25 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 142 innings.
Royals No. 24 prospect Eric Skoglund matched his career high with 10 strikeouts as he scattered three hits over six scoreless frames for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The 23-year-old left-hander has completed at least six innings in four of his past five starts for the Naturals.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.